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Feline Fix By Five
February 1, 2024

The unofficial theme of February is love. Every year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, stores fill with romantic trappings, such as flowers and candies. When it comes to pets, the emphasis is kind of the opposite: it’s Prevent A Litter Month, Spay/Neuter Month, and Feline Fix By Five Month. There is one common theme throughout all three of these awareness events: reducing the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. Here’s what a local Frederick, MD vet has to say.

How Does Getting My Pet Fixed Benefit His Or Her Health?

While the most important reason for getting this procedure would be to curb animal overpopulation, there are also some key benefits for your pet as well.

Males, for example, will have a reduced risk of testicular cancer, while females will have a lower risk of ovarian, uterine, and mammary tumors. For girls, the dangers of pregnancy and/or delivery are also eliminated. Plus, your furry pal will be less likely to try to escape, which also keeps them safer.

Does Getting My Pet Fixed Really Help Curb Overpopulation?

Even though getting your furry pal spayed or neutered won’t solve the problem, it definitely helps. This is a collective effort. Every pet counts!

Fluffy and Fido’s reproductive statistics are pretty mind-blowing. A single pair of dogs can have as many as 67,000 descendants in just six years, with an average litter size of six to ten puppies.

Of course, that’s just an average. Some pooches have way more puppies than that. Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff, had 24 puppies in a 2004 litter. (She made the Guinness Book of World Records for that one.) In 2014, a very tired mama, Honey, broke Australia’s record by giving birth to 22 pups after three days of labor. 

The reproduction rate of cats is also astonishing. A pair of kitties can have as many as 2, 072, 514 descendants in just eight years, with an average of three litters a year.

A few of our feline pals can give Honey and Tia a run for their money. The record for the largest litter of kittens was set in 1970, when a Burmese/Siamese cat had 19 tiny furballs. Then there’s Dusty, the ultimate lifetime record holder. This Texas kitty gave birth to 420 kittens during her lifetime.

Being overwhelmed by puppies and kittens may seem like a cute problem, but the overpopulation issue is actually tied to much more sobering statistics. About 7.6 million animals enter shelters each year. Of those, about 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized. That’s even not counting the millions of homeless pets that are out there fending for themselves. It’s a rough life for animals on the street: many live very short, very hard lives. 

Keeping your furry friend from adding to those numbers is a small act that can and will change our world for the better. Remember, even if you find homes for your pet’s babies, there’s no way to know that their offspring will be as lucky.

What Can I Do to Help My Pet Recover After Spay/Neuter Surgery?

You’ll get specific aftercare instructions from your vet. Follow these to the letter, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

To help your furry friend recover, you should provide a clean, quiet, and comfortable environment. (If you’ve been considering buying your pet a new bed, now is a good time.) Keep any other pets in a separate area for the first few days, and let your furry patient rest and heal. 

Your vet may recommend an inflatable collar or lampshade collar (aka the Cone Of Shame) to prevent your pet from opening the stitches. Your veterinary clinic can provide you with information on these collars.

Aside from that, you’ll just want to keep a close eye on the surgical area. Watch for any signs of infection or complications. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Torn Stitches
  • Foul Odor
  • Lethargy
  • Lack Of Appetite

If you notice any of these, or spot anything else that seems amiss, contact your veterinarian right away.

Males will be over the healing hump in a few days, while females may take several weeks to fully recover. Don’t encourage strenuous activity until your vet gives the thumbs up. 

How Much Does Spay/Neuter Surgery Cost?

There will be some initial cost associated with spaying or neutering your pet, but it is a wise investment in the long run. It would be far more expensive to care for a litter of puppies or kittens! Prices vary from place to place, so ask your veterinary clinic for more information. 

When Is The Best Time To Spay/Neuter A Kitten?

Ideally, little Fluffy should be fixed before she enters her first heat, which is around five months old. (This is the thinking behind the Feline Fix By Five Month awareness event.) Our feline friends can become pregnant at just four months old, when they are really still babies themselves. Cats can be fixed at just nine weeks old, but many veterinarians prefer to wait a bit longer these days. 

Is your pet already grown up? Adults can still undergo these procedures. Consult your Frederick, MD veterinarian for more information.

When Is The Best Time To Spay/Neuter A Dog?

Fido’s size will play a role here. The AKC recommends fixing small dogs at about six to nine months of age. With large breeds, you may need to wait a little longer. With some giant dogs, you may need to wait until they are 18 months old. Your veterinarian will recommend a timeframe, based on your pet’s size and health.

Are Pets More Affectionate After Neutering?

Some pets do become more lovable and cuddly after they are fixed, in part because they are just naturally calmer. Removing that hormonal urge to reproduce naturally results in a less-excitable pet. This can be helpful for behavioral problems. Intact male pets are much more likely to spray, to be aggressive, and to engage in destructive behavior. This is due to their heat cycles and hormonal urges. Once dogs and cats are fixed, they lose interest in trying to mark their territory or find a mate. Fido and Fluffy will probably concentrate on playing, cuddling, and napping.

Will Getting My Cat Fixed Stop Her From Yowling?

When discussing the spaying or neutering of pets, it’s important to also mention one of its lesser-known advantages: avoiding your cat’s not-so-pleasant mating songs. Fluffy may be a great companion, but her musical abilities are less than impressive. Our feline pals often attempt to attract potential mates with their singing, or what they think is singing. Unfortunately, their “caterwauling” seems to be appealing only to other kitties. To us humans, it can sound like a form of mild torture. This alone may serve as sufficient reason for having your pet spayed or neutered.

Do you need to schedule spay/neuter surgery for your pet? Contact us, your local Frederick, MD pet hospital, if you need to schedule spay/neuter surgery or have questions about getting your furry friend fixed.